Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser Essays

In Fast Food Nation: the Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Eric Schlosser disclose quite startling problem. His points of view are substantiated with more than adequate research and statistics, but the most compelling factor in his evidence is the common use of examples. By putting a “human-interest” factor in the book, Schlosser makes the reader understand his arguments.

These examples are more than mere anecdotes used to catch the reader’s consideration. By putting a face on the issues presented in the story, Schlosser illustrates the values—and lack thereof—in American culture. This paper will focus on the use of personal examples that Schlosser employs throughout the book by taking a look at how he uses these examples in each chapter to support his points of view.

The reader is given the opportunity to process the information presented and form an educated opinion. Beginning in the Introduction, the reader is faced with many unexpected statistics and bold statements. By referring to the industry as both “a catalyst and a symptom” of what Americans have come to value, Schlosser prepares the reader for what is to come in the book.

Again and again, he lures us (the reader) into the world of the fast food industry with his reminders that Americans do not really consider what or why they’re consuming so much fast food. His use of the Air Force station and almost constant references to McDonald’s starts to give a face to the issue at hand. Chapter 1 sets up some basic information of how the industry began.

Schlosser asserts that American values began to change with the times. As the economy became less troubled after WWII, and families began to rely heavily on the use of cars, the fast food industry began. The reader learns of the major impact Carl Karcher had on setting the tone for America’s love of the convenience of fast food.

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Being the world’s busiest and most successful nation, America and the people of America need to be kept constantly fueled. Now the country can run on electricity and petroleum but the people need to be kept fed with food and of course with a busy schedule, food needs to be readily available, be efficiently cheap, delightfully tasteful and be hunger-relieving. The fast food industry manages to accomplish the task quite successfully until and unless it’s long term side effects on the body and the effects of it’s “helping” industries are taken under consideration.

Eric Schlosser gives an in-depth view of this rapidly growing industry in his book “Fast Food Nation” revealing unimaginable facts that could definitely make someone have second opinions before purchasing a burger from McDonalds. The fast food industry first emerged in the 1940’s after World War Two when people started reusing their cars, now more than ever as traveling by road was cut down during wartime to save on fuel. A new chain of restaurants opened up in southern California at this period of time known as the “drive-ins”.

Drive-ins become a popular hangout spot for the young youth with the combination of girls, cars, and late-night food. It was at this time that the McDonald’s came to prominence; it was known for its faster service for the customer and a cheaper production rate for themselves. The meat-producing industries were not matching the demand of meat which was accelerated due to the new fast-food industry. And thus this industry sector was also revolutionized (in the least proper manner) which now packaged cows in small areas where they were fed corn instead of fresh grass to speed up their growth and would then be shipped to slaughterhouses.

This industry is still intact alongside the fast-food industry. The most common allusion is that meat products available at fast-food places are unhealthy yet the story doesn’t end there. According to Schlosser, the meat that is normally available at these joints is processed at huge industrial plants in which thousands of cows are packed in small shed where they barely have space to walk (in contrast to the picture we imagine where cows would be grazing in open fields).

The working conditions at such places are even worse, for instance on page 165, he states “we have three odors…burning hair and blood, greasy, and the odor of rotten egg…It rises from the slaughterhouse waste water lagoons causing respiratory problems and headaches, and…damage to nervous system. ” Deadly bacteria are just another serving that comes along with this industry. For example (as stated on page 199-200) E. coli O157:H7 that is found at such plants releases a powerful toxin that can soon lead “hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which leads to kidney failure, anemia, internal bleeding, and destruction of vital organs.

About 5 percent of children who develop HSU are killed by it. ” Obesity, another common allusion associated with fast-food restaurants, is on the rise. As Schlosser states on page 240 “More than half of all American adults and about one-quarter of all American children are now obese or overweight…The rate of obesity among children is twice as high as it was in the late 1970s. ” Globalization also has made an impact in spreading the fast-food industry.

Not that it was enough that these unhealthy cultures were already “helping” the western hemisphere, fast-food restaurants that emerged in the United States such as McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken went global to Asian countries such as China, India and Japan where for thousands of years, the people consumed a proper healthy diet most of the time. As Schlosser reports “A decade ago, McDonald’s had about three thousand restaurants outside the United States: today (that number has changed to) about seventeen thousand restaurants in more than 120 foreign countries. (Page 229)

The expansion of this cancer also made its way into school campuses in hallways and other areas to attract students towards local franchise. For example, in District 11 during 1993, it began placing ads as a result of the revenue shortfalls. Within a year the district had tripled its revenues. (Page 51) Children are obvious targets as the food tastes better than school lunches and because on occasion, is cheaper to purchase than at school.

Opposition has always remained against the idea of eliminating fast food as there are people who are always on the road and would like somewhere where they could grab a quick and cheap meal but it should be noted that health comes first and health is priority whereas the fast-food industry and its food are like cancer. The effects of the fast-food nation include serious environmental as well as personal damages. For now, fast-food joints should compromise their food and upgrade their menu with a decent amount of healthier options.

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